20061007

 

ROC: Displaced pygmies from Pool region vaccinated against polio

Excerpt from UNICEF website (2002): "...'How many of your children have been vaccinated against polio?' asks Isabelle Mouyokani of UNICEF-Brazzaville, to Chief Malima. “Last year, the children were vaccinated and some of the children were vaccinated again yesterday” says Malima who speaks Teke, but not French, Congo’s national language. “But others were not here so they need to be vaccinated today.” “Okay, that’s fine – today we’ll vaccinate all the children who weren’t vaccinated yesterday. But, first of all, who knows what polio is and how to prevent it?”, asks Isabelle in French. After the translation is made into Teke, there is a shuffling from behind the group. An elderly woman comes forward, carrying her grandson. He is about six years old and he holds her tightly around the neck – both of his bone-thin legs dangle below him, providing no support.
“This is my grandson, Malonga. I think he has the disease you’re talking about”, she says. “We had to take turns carrying him all the way from Nko because he’s never been able to walk.” “Yes, he does … he does have polio”, says Isabelle. “This is what can happen to your children if they don’t take the polio vaccine. All your children under 5 years of age must be vaccinated against polio. They must also be vaccinated two more times – one month from now and one month after that. The vaccine is free, it is not harmful and it will prevent your children from becoming crippled...”

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